Some Brief Impressions Of The Village Voice Choice Eats Event, Including Thoughts On The Term “Foodie”
Walking up to the 69th Armory in Gramercy (Is that what that area at 26th street and Lexington is called? Or is that Murray Hill? I always have trouble differentiating it as anything other than the place where the people-I-went-to-college-with-who–I-don’t-necessarily-really-hang-out-with-anymore-although-they-still-show-up-on-my-Gchat-and-I-definitely-read-their-status-messages-on-the-reg live and consider themselves to be “downtown.”) and seeing the line of half Asian/half not-Asian people wrap, literally, around the entire block, you would have thought the Village Voice’s food event Choice Eats would be a complete disaster. But once you entered the large room, sectioned off convention-style with booths and booths of restaurants, it was actually pretty organized and without that really crowded feeling that comes with things that are poorly conceived and then oversold. Honestly, the woman who walked by me while talking loudly to her friend said it best when she rhetorically asked (not to me): “How many pulled pork sandwiches can one person eat?”
Here’s some of what you, if you weren’t there, missed:
Asian people are really into food and taking pictures of food. A few weeks ago, writer Ben Detrick tweeted an intensely correct observation identifying Yelp as, “The internet’s premier site for learning what Asian women think about restaurants,” and about half of the Choice Eats event felt like an IRL Yelp. There were lots of Asian girls with SLRs hanging around their neck standing in my way as I tried to get to the Del Posto chocolate and eggplant dish. The other half of the Choice Eats was just normie white people. Nothing new to see here, folks.
“Foodies.” Are you into food? Cool! I 100% agree that eating is great. In fact, some food is really dope. You know what undermines all of these positive sentiments I have towards you, person who also agrees with me that food can invoke some real genuine happiness? The fact that you’re calling yourself a “foodie.” I don’t know why this term is so offensive, maybe it’s because there’s a sort of implied haughtiness or something, but you’re better than that. We clearly have a lot in common, let’s not ruin what we have going.
But is it a VALUE? A weird phenomenon that happens in the city is people’s willingness to wait and wait and wait for things that they perceive to be a deal. On days when there’s free or really cheap ice cream or yogurt, you’ll see long, long lines of people, often in suboptimal weather, just waiting for the opportunity to save (no more than) $1-$2. I actually love savings, so I get how and why this happens, but it seems like, at some point, you have to respect yourself and your time and value it more for more than $1-$2 for an hour. So where does Choice Eats fall on this scale? Well, on the one hand, there is a line, and it was very, very long. But on the other hand, you’re essentially paying $35–45 to eat and drink as much as you want of this pretty good food. Now, I can’t tell you how to live your life, but I think this one leans more on the value side of the spectrum. So keep that in mind for next year.
Photo by Jeffrey Tastes, from Flickr.